The NFL combine just over two weeks from getting underway. Patrick Mahomes along with hundreds of other former college players will try to impress as many scouts as possible.
The former Texas Tech QB is one of the most intriguing prospects in the 2017 NFL Draft. He can make the throws, has mobility in the pocket, and has the smarts to succeed at the next level. But questions arise around Mahomes due to the college system he was a part of at Texas Tech.
First off, history is against Patrick Mahomes having success. Just think about some of the names that have successfully made the transition from an Air Raid-style offense to NFL stardom. You can’t think of any? Neither can I.
Recent failures include Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M), Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State), Geno Smith (West Virginia), and Case Keenum (Houston). As we go further back in time we can dig up the likes of Tim Couch (Kentucky), Jason White (Oklahoma), Graham Harrell (Texas Tech), and even Mahomes’ former coach Kliff Kingsbury.
While the jury is still out, the early returns for last year’s No. 1 overall pick, Cal’s Jared Goff, are not promising. Goff’s professional career got off to a brutal start as he couldn’t even crack third-string QB for the Rams to start the season. Goff eventually received plenty of playing time, but over 7 games he completed under 55% of his passes with just 5 touchdowns to 7 interceptions. At best, Goff remains a work in progress. At worst, he’s the latest bust to be selected No. 1 overall.
Mahomes comes from an offense very similar to Jared Goff’s. But physically Mahomes is simply a better athlete and a better quarterback.
Recently, CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora said Mahomes’ stock will only improve, writing:
Keep hearing more buzz about Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He’ll be a “riser” by the combine, I’m sure, and the more time teams spend with him the more the evaluators will like him. At worst he’s the third quarterback taken in the draft and I wouldn’t rule him out as a top-three pick, either, depending on what quarterback-starved teams like the 49ers, Browns and Bears do in the trade or free agent market. I don’t think he gets past the Texans in the first round.
Teams are going to fall in love with not just Mahomes’ physical skills, but his personality and his pedigree. One of Mahomes’ aces up his sleeve is his ties to pro sports. His father is former MLB pitcher Pat Mahomes and his Godfather is long-time MLB pitcher LaTroy Hawkins. To have those kind of role models to lean on growing up and while making the transition from college to professional sports is invaluable. Scouts will love that aspect of Mahomes. Personality-wise, everything I heard from folks about Mahomes was that he never viewed himself as bigger than the team, and despite the lack of wins on the field, he never blamed others for the team’s struggles.
Now granted Mahomes’ mechanics do need some tweaking. But tweaking is the key word, not an entire overhaul. Part of his uniqueness is his ability to make throws like this that 95% of NFL quarterbacks currently cannot make. Maybe only Aaron Rodgers can do this?
Best QB in the class. pic.twitter.com/cG8GiNvq7u
— Jupjamie (@jupjamie) February 10, 2017
Patrick Mahomes is not the type of player who is going to walk into camp this summer and win the job. I do think he will have a learning curve that will take some time to develop as he learns a new playbook and a more traditional pro-style offense. The keys will be for his future employer to not try and “fix” everything that they view is “wrong” with him based on prior NFL protocol for what makes a quarterback “NFL ready”. Plus, his future team cannot throw him into the fire too quickly.
Like much of the successes and failures in the NFL, often times it comes down to who drafts you and what they do with you. If Mahomes lands in the right situation, the sky is the limit. I firmly believe Mahomes will be a fast learner and with his God-given physical tools, along with his humble make up, Mahomes could absolutely find himself as an upper-echelon NFL quarterback down the road.
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